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September 5, 2003

School of Public Health Part of Regional Biodefense Center

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is one of 16 biomedical research institutions that will form the new Middle Atlantic Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases Research (RCE), established by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). On Thursday, the University of Maryland School of Medicine announced it was awarded a five-year $42 million grant from NIAID to lead the Middle Atlantic RCE, which will work to develop new and improved vaccines, diagnostic tools and treatments for potential biological agents and infectious diseases. Some of the proposed projects include developing new vaccines against the anthrax bacillus and the smallpox, Ebola and West Nile viruses.

Myron M. Levine, MD, DTPH, director of the Center for Vaccine Development at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, is principal investigator for the Middle Atlantic RCE. More than 60 scientists will be participating as investigators and co-investigators of research projects.

"This network represents an unprecedented use of medical research capabilities to combat terrorism," said Donald Burke, MD, director of the Center for Immunization Research at the School of Public Health, and RCE co-principal investigator. Along with Dr. Levine, Dr. Burke will serve as part of a five-member executive committee, which will provide senior coordination of the RCE.

In addition to the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins, the RCE also includes the University of Pennsylvania, University of Virginia, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, University of Pittsburgh, George Washington University, Georgetown University, West Virginia University, Drexel University, University of Vermont, University of Missouri, Kansas City, University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute and Virginia Commonwealth University.

The Middle Atlantic RCE is one of eight to be established nationwide with grants totaling approximately $350 million over the next five years. Each center is composed of a lead institution and affiliated institutions located primarily in the same geographical region.

University of Maryland News Release

NIAID News Release

Public Affairs Media Contacts for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Tim Parsons or Kenna Brigham at 410-955-6878 or paffairs@jhsph.edu. Photographs of Donald Burke are available upon request.